Monday, October 24, 2005

Day of the Dead

(1985) ***

I've watched this movie about 10 times over the years and hated it every time. This viewing was no different. Why watch a movie repeatedly when you know you won't enjoy it? Why participate in an exhausting horror movie competition with no rewards? Both good questions. Someday I hope to answer them.

That's not to say that Day of the Dead has no value. Romero attempted to push the genre that he created forward, a noble cause. And if you're a gore afficianado then Day has much to offer. Tom Savini was at the top of his game here and he concocted several innovative, revolting scenarios.

The story takes place several years after Dawn of the Dead in an age where the zombies have all but taken over the planet, outnumbering humans 400,000 to 1. Survivors take up residence in a dank military base with the hopes of devising a way to deal with the undead. A kooky scientist covered in blood recognizes that brute force is futile and seeks to find alternative methods. His guinea pig is a zombie with a good disposition named Bub, whom he conditions not to attack humans through experiments and rewards. On the other side you have the captain and his meathead cronies who solve all their problems with weapons. There is no shortage of social commentary here, it's just not enough to drive the movie.

The worst aspect of Day is that there are no likeable characters whatsoever. Not a one. Our protagonist, nicknamed Dr. Frankenstein, comes across as an eccentric goofball. The rest of the cast are one dimensional, acting deficient jackasses. (Bub does do good work and would be considered for a best acting by a zombie award if there were such a thing. I was actually concerned for his well being at one point.) Also pressing is the dire setting that we're never allowed to escape from. It all adds up to a gruesome, ultimately depressing journey.

Then again, maybe I should give it another shot...


JPX said...

You're way too hard on this film! Savini is at his very best here. I think the film 28 Days rips this off heavily. Also, is Land of the Dead really that different?

JPX said...

Also, I like the soundtrack. I actually bought the record when I was in high school. Nerd!

Summerisle said...

I gave it the *** out of respect for George/Tom. Otherwise it would be lower based on the bad taste in my mouth after watching it. And Land of the Dead is indeed very different, review coming soon.

Octopunk said...

I haven't seen this since it came out, but I do remember a sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness that felt like a bad, caffeine-fueled all nighter. Like when you have to turn in a paper at 10 am and you've already felt like crying a couple of times.

I also recall watching 28 Days Later and thinking "why are you looking for the soldiers? Stay away from the freaking soldiers!" It was totally Day that provided my well-placed paranoia.

Land of the Dead had Asia Argento in it. Big plus.

JPX said...

Isn't that how you completed all your school assignments, Octopunk, minus the caffiene?

Octopunk said...

There's caffeine available for us non-coffee drinkers, in convenient pill form. You get the stomach cramps and shaky fingers without the pesky European flavor and sophistication.

But yes, that's pretty much how I did all my papers. One night I did two. Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of a Sloar that day, I can tell you.

DCD said...

Yay! Ghostbusters! That made me laugh out loud!